A crew season without racing creates challenges for bonding

This years crew season looks different with racing being cancelled. The new changes to the season have made team bonding harder. Despite this, the crew team has found ways to connect to one another.


This year’s crew season looks different with racing being cancelled. The new changes to the season have made team bonding harder. Despite this, the crew team has found ways to connect to one another.

Through highs and lows, the boys and girls crew teams have made it through a season riddled with challenges. Their passion, drive and community spirit fueled them, and when things got tough they stepped up to the plate.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Head of the Charles, which takes place in October, was cancelled and there have been many limitations posed on the team in order to create a safe environment. In spite of these challenges, many of which have made it harder to bond as a group, the teams have worked hard to strengthen the team.

The first wrench that was thrown at them was the spring season being cancelled last year. Senior and girls varsity member Annabel Cox said that cancelling the spring season has specifically made it difficult for incoming athletes.

“I think it’s really hard for newcomers because some of them have never been in a competition,” Cox said. “I can imagine it would be really hard to join this huge team where everyone knows each other and they don’t know anyone.”

Senior and boys varsity member Solomon Sakakeeny-Smith said that cancelling the spring season has created new challenges for team bonding.

“I think my freshman year was when there wasn’t as much of a line between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. So now, it’s been kind of difficult and different,” Sakakeeny-Smith said.

Another challenge the rowing team has faced is not being able to row in eight-men boats anymore due to COVID-19 restrictions. Sakakeeny-Smith said that these restrictions have changed the team dynamic from years past.

“I think it will definitely affect the team not feeling as much like a cohesive unit. It’s definitely made it more internally competitive,” Sakakeeny-Smith said. “However, I think the seniors and juniors especially have been trying to get everyone together and make the best of the time we have.”

Senior and girls varsity member Eve Waldron has been rowing for four years. She said COVID-19 poses a host of new problems, one of them being the cancellation of racess.

“Having the Head of the Charles cancelled was very saddening because I rowed in it last year and didn’t place as well as I wanted to place. Not being able to redeem myself was definitely hard and I know it was hard for other people as well,” Waldron said.

Waldron also said that cancelling the competitions this fall has taken away from one of the main parts of the sport.

“I think it’s a very competitive sport and when you sign up for it you have to have some sort of competitive drive. Missing this racing season has definitely put a damper on practices. It’s really hard because we have nothing to look forward to,” Waldron said.

Despite these challenges, varsity rower and sophomore Sophia Grossman has kept a positive outlook on the situation. Shesaid that while sports bonding this year is difficult, it can be done..

“In terms of bonding, I know our captains have made an effort to work around the restrictions that make it harder for us. We have team dinners and play soccer together,” Grossman said. “I think we’ve done a great job with the circumstances in terms of team spirit. With what we have right now, we’re doing a really good job.”

Sakakeeny-Smith said that while he does believe they’ve had to put more effort into team bonding, rowing is a sport that naturally creates bonds.

“Because of the nature of the sport it is much easier for us to have that camaraderie,” Sakakeeny-Smith said. “Rowing is hard, and training is one of the things that brings us together. Also, we can’t make it unless everyone in the team is working hard together.”

Sakakeeny-Smith said that on some level it comes down to rowing being a sport where team bonding naturally happens.

“We train all year round so we spend a lot of time together. I don’t know anyone who just does the spring. That’s just not how our team culture is,” Sakakeeny-Smith said. “If you row, you row.”